Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mosquitos, Camping, and Astronomy, oh my

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One thing that astronomers and Scouts share is being outside at night during the summer. That also means one other thing - Mosquitoes and other biting insects.

While bug repellant works well in most cases, it causes problems for astronomers. In particular DEET can damage plastic and the expensive optical coatings on lenses.

If you're an astronomer or camper looking for a new edge in the battle of the bug, there is a piece of kit you should consider.  The Thermacell - a small appliance that requires butane cartridges and pads.  I have one and it works remarkably well.  I've field tested it in fields southern and central Ontario as well as on the beaches of southern Maine.

Here's a detailed review of the Thermacell over at the One Minute Astronomer.  I had seen the same review in Sky News  last summer and thought it was worth trying.

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